Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma represent the two most common primary bone tumours in childhood and adolescence, with bone metastases being the most adverse prognostic factor. In prostate cancer, osseous metastasis poses a major clinical challenge. We developed a preclinical orthotopic model of Ewing sarcoma, reflecting the biology of the tumour-bone interactions in human disease and allowing in vivo monitoring of disease progression, and compared this with models of osteosarcoma and prostate carcinoma. Human tumour cell lines were transplanted into non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NSG) and Rag2−/−/γc−/− mice by intrafemoral injection. For Ewing sarcoma, minimal cell numbers (1000–5000) injected in small volumes were able to induce orthotopic tumour growth. Tumour progression was studied using positron emission tomography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and bioluminescent imaging. Tumours and their interactions with bones were examined by histology. Each tumour induced bone destruction and outgrowth of extramedullary tumour masses, together with characteristic changes in bone that were well visualised by computed tomography, which correlated with post-mortem histology. Ewing sarcoma and, to a lesser extent, osteosarcoma cells induced prominent reactive new bone formation. Osteosarcoma cells produced osteoid and mineralised “malignant” bone within the tumour mass itself. Injection of prostate carcinoma cells led to osteoclast-driven osteolytic lesions. Bioluminescent imaging of Ewing sarcoma xenografts allowed easy and rapid monitoring of tumour growth and detection of tumour dissemination to lungs, liver and bone. Magnetic resonance imaging proved useful for monitoring soft tissue tumour growth and volume. Positron emission tomography proved to be of limited use in this model. Overall, we have developed an orthotopic in vivo model for Ewing sarcoma and other primary and secondary human bone malignancies, which resemble the human disease. We have shown the utility of small animal bioimaging for tracking disease progression, making this model a useful assay for preclinical drug testing.
The VLR2913 ectodomain fused with internalin B was crystallized and diffraction data were collected to a maximum resolution of 2.04 Å.
In jawless vertebrates, variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs) play a crucial role in the recognition of antigens as part of the adaptive immune system. Leucine-rich repeat (LRR) modules and the highly variable insert (HVI) of VLRs contribute to the specificity and diversity of antigen recognition. VLR2913, the antigen of which is not known, contains the same HVI amino-acid sequence as that of VLR RBC36, which recognizes the H-trisaccharide from human blood type O erythrocytes. Since the HVI sequence is rarely identical among all known VLRs, identification of the antigen for VLR2913 and the main contributing factors for antigen recognition based on a comparison of VLR2913 and VLR RBC36 has been attempted. To initiate and facilitate this structural approach, the ectodomain of VLR2913 was fused with the N-terminal domain of internalin B (InlB-VLR2913-ECD). Three amino-acid residues on the concave surface of the LRR modules of InlB-VLR2913-ECD were mutated, considering important residues for hydrogen bonds in the recognition of H-trisaccharide by VLR RBC36. InlB-VLR2913-ECD was overexpressed in Escherichia coli and was crystallized at 295 K using the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. X-ray diffraction data were collected to 2.04 Å resolution and could be indexed in the tetragonal space group P41212 (or P43212), with unit-cell parameters a = 91.12, b = 91.12, c = 62.87 Å. Assuming that one monomer molecule was present in the crystallographic asymmetric unit, the calculated Matthews coefficient (V
M) was 2.75 Å3 Da−1 and the solvent content was 55.2%. Structural determination of InlB-VLR2913-ECD by molecular replacement is in progress.
variable lymphocyte receptor; VLR; adaptive immunity; antigen recognition
A substantial fraction of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) in certain HIV-infected donors recognizes glycan-dependent epitopes on HIV-1 gp120. Here, we elucidate how bnAb PGT 135 recognizes its Asn332 glycan-dependent epitope from its crystal structure with gp120, CD4 and Fab 17b at 3.1 Å resolution. PGT 135 interacts with glycans at Asn332, Asn392 and Asn386, using long CDR loops H1 and H3 to penetrate the glycan shield to access the gp120 protein surface. Electron microscopy reveals PGT 135 can accommodate the conformational and chemical diversity of gp120 glycans by altering its angle of engagement. The combined structural studies of PGT 135, PGT 128 and 2G12 show this Asn332-dependent epitope is highly accessible and much more extensive than initially appreciated, allowing for multiple binding modes and varied angles of approach, thereby representing a supersite of vulnerability for antibody neutralization.
Influenza virus ribonucleoprotein complexes (RNPs) are central to the viral life cycle and in adaptation to new host species. RNPs are composed of the viral genome, viral polymerase and many copies of the viral nucleoprotein. In vitro cell expression of all RNP protein components with four of the eight influenza virus gene segments enabled structural determination of native influenza virus RNPs by cryo-electron microscopy. The cryo-EM structure reveals the architecture and organization of the native RNP, thereby defining the attributes of its largely helical structure and how polymerase interacts with NP and the viral genome. Observations of branched-RNP structures in negative stain EM and their putative identification as replication intermediates suggest a mechanism for viral replication by a second polymerase on the RNP template.
Combined targeting of the MAPK and PI3K signalling pathways in cancer may be necessary for optimal therapeutic activity. To support clinical studies of combination therapy, 3′-deoxy-3′-[18F]-fluorothymidine ([18F]-FLT) uptake measured by Positron Emission Tomography (PET) was evaluated as a non-invasive surrogate response biomarker in pre-clinical models. The in vivo anti-tumour efficacy and PK-PD properties of the MEK inhibitor PD 0325901 and the PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941, alone and in combination, were evaluated in HCT116 and HT29 human colorectal cancer xenograft tumour-bearing mice, and [18F]-FLT PET investigated in mice bearing HCT116 xenografts. Dual targeting of PI3K and MEK induced marked tumour growth inhibition in vivo, and enhanced anti-tumour activity was predicted by [18F]-FLT PET scanning after 2 days of treatment. Pharmacodynamic analyses using the combination of the PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941 and the MEK inhibitor PD 0325901 revealed that increased efficacy is associated with an enhanced inhibition of the phosphorylation of ERK1/2, S6 and 4EBP1, compared to that observed with either single agent, and maintained inhibition of AKT phosphorylation. Pharmacokinetic studies indicated that there was no marked PK interaction between the two drugs. Together these results indicate that the combination of PI3K and MEK inhibitors can result in significant efficacy, and demonstrate for the first time that [18F]-FLT PET can be correlated to the improved efficacy of combined PI3K and MEK inhibitor treatment.
We report the structural characterization of the first antibody identified to cross-neutralize multiple subtypes of influenza A viruses. The crystal structure of mouse antibody C179 bound to the pandemic 1957 H2N2 hemagglutinin (HA) reveals that it targets an epitope on the HA stem similar to those targeted by the recently identified human broadly neutralizing antibodies. C179 also inhibits the low-pH conformational change of the HA but uses a different angle of approach and both heavy and light chains.
Broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies (bnAbs) are typically highly somatically mutated, raising doubts as to whether they can be elicited by vaccination. We used 454 sequencing and designed a novel phylogenetic method to model lineage evolution of the bnAbs PGT121–134 and found a positive correlation between the level of somatic hypermutation (SHM) and the development of neutralization breadth and potency. Strikingly, putative intermediates were characterized that show approximately half the mutation level of PGT121–134 but were still capable of neutralizing roughly 40–80% of PGT121–134 sensitive viruses in a 74-virus panel at median titers between 15- and 3-fold higher than PGT121–134. Such antibodies with lower levels of SHM may be more amenable to elicitation through vaccination while still providing noteworthy coverage. Binding characterization indicated a preference of inferred intermediates for native Env binding over monomeric gp120, suggesting that the PGT121–134 lineage may have been selected for binding to native Env at some point during maturation. Analysis of glycan-dependent neutralization for inferred intermediates identified additional adjacent glycans that comprise the epitope and suggests changes in glycan dependency or recognition over the course of affinity maturation for this lineage. Finally, patterns of neutralization of inferred bnAb intermediates suggest hypotheses as to how SHM may lead to potent and broad HIV neutralization and provide important clues for immunogen design.
A majority of the over 30 million HIV-1 infected individuals worldwide live in poorly resourced areas where multiple boost strategies, which are likely needed to generate highly mutated antibodies, present formidable logistical challenges. Accordingly, developing new vaccination strategies that are capable of generating highly mutated antibodies should be an active area of research. Another approach, that is not mutually exclusive, is to identify new bnAbs that are both broad and potent in neutralization, but are much less mutated than the bnAbs that currently exist. Here, we have identified bnAbs that are approximately half the mutation frequency of known bnAbs, but maintain high potency and moderate breadth. These less mutated bnAbs offer an important advantage in that they would likely be easier to induce through vaccination than more mutated antibodies. By characterizing these putative intermediates, we can also better estimate how affinity maturation proceeded to result in an antibody with broad and potent neutralization activity and offer more focused strategies for designing immunogens capable of eliciting these less mutated bnAbs.
Vertebrate TLR5 directly binds bacterial flagellin proteins and activates innate immune responses against pathogenic flagellated bacteria. Structural and biochemical studies on the TLR5/flagellin interaction have been challenging due to the technical difficulty in obtaining active recombinant proteins of TLR5 ectodomain (TLR5-ECD). We recently succeeded in production of the N-terminal leucine rich repeats (LRRs) of Danio rerio (dr) TLR5-ECD in a hybrid with another LRR protein, hagfish variable lymphocyte receptor (VLR), and determined the crystal structure of its complex with flagellin D1–D2–D3 domains. Although the structure provides valuable information about the interaction, it remains to be revealed how the C-terminal region of TLR5-ECD contributes to the interaction. Here, we present two methods to obtain recombinant TLR5 proteins that contain the C-terminal region in a baculovirus expression system. First, production of biologically active full-length drTLR5-ECD was substantially enhanced by supplementation of expression culture with purified flagellin proteins. Second, we designed TLR5-VLR hybrids using an LRR hybrid technology by single and double LRR fusions and were able to express diverse regions of drTLR5-ECD, allowing us to detect a previously unidentified TLR5/flagellin interaction. The drTLR5-VLR hybrid technique was also successfully applied to human TLR5-ECD whose expression has been highly problematic. These alternative TLR5 expression strategies provide an opportunity to obtain a complete view of the TLR5/flagellin interaction and can be applied to other LRR proteins.
Toll-like receptor 5; Flagellin; Leucine-rich repeat; LRR hybrid; Variable lymphocyte receptor; Innate immunity
Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) envelope protein (Env) and influenza hemagglutinin (HA) are the surface glycoproteins responsible for viral entry into host cells, the first step in the virus life cycle necessary to initiate infection. These glycoproteins exhibit a high degree of sequence variability and glycosylation, which are used as strategies to escape host immune responses. Nonetheless, antibodies with broadly neutralizing activity against these viruses have been isolated that have managed to overcome these barriers. Here, we review recent advances in the structural characterization of these antibodies with their viral antigens that defines a few sites of vulnerability on these viral spikes. These broadly neutralizing antibodies tend to focus their recognition on the sites of similar function between the two viruses: the receptor binding site and membrane fusion machinery. However, some sites of recognition are unique to the virus neutralized, such as the dense shield of oligomannose carbohydrates on HIV-1 Env. These observations are discussed in the context of structure-based design strategies to aid in vaccine design or development of antivirals.
HIV-1; Env; influenza; hemagglutinin; antibody; structure
The Phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3-K) pathway is deregulated in a range of cancers, and several targeted inhibitors are entering the clinic. This study aimed to investigate whether the PET tracer 3′-Deoxy-3′-[18F]fluorothymidine ([18F]-FLT) is suitable to mark the effect of the novel PI-3K inhibitor GDC-0941 which has entered phase II clinical trial. CBA nude mice bearing U87 glioma and HCT116 colorectal xenografts were imaged at baseline with [18F]-FLT and at acute (18h) and chronic (186h) timepoints after twice-daily administration of GDC-0941 (50mg/kg) or vehicle. Tumor uptake normalized to blood pool was calculated, and tissue was analyzed at sacrifice for PI3-K pathway inhibition and thymidine kinase (TK1) expression. Uptake of [18F]-FLT was also assessed in tumors inducibly overexpressing a dominant-negative form of the PI3-K p85 subunit Δp85α, as well as HCT116 liver metastases after GDC-0941 therapy. GDC-0941 treatment induced tumor stasis in U87 xenografts, whereas inhibition of HCT116 tumors was more variable. Tumor uptake of [18F]-FLT was significantly reduced following GDC-0941 dosing in responsive tumors at the acute timepoint, and correlated with pharmacodynamic markers of PI3-K signaling inhibition and significant reduction in TK1 expression in U87, but not HCT116, tumors. Reduction of PI3-K signaling via expression of Δp85α significantly reduced tumor growth and [18F]-FLT uptake, as did treatment of HCT116 liver metastases with GDC-0941. These results indicate that [18F]-FLT is a strong candidate for the non-invasive measurement of GDC-0941 action.
Positron Emission Tomography; Fluorodeoxythymidine; Imaging Therapy Response
Paramyxoviruses, enveloped RNA viruses that include human parainfluenza virus type 3 (HPIV3), cause the majority of childhood viral pneumonia. HPIV3 infection starts when the viral receptor-binding protein engages sialic acid receptors in the lung and the viral envelope fuses with the target cell membrane. Fusion/entry requires interaction between two viral surface glycoproteins: tetrameric hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) and fusion protein (F). In this report, we define structural correlates of the HN features that permit infection in vivo. We have shown that viruses with an HN-F that promotes growth in cultured immortalized cells are impaired in differentiated human airway epithelial cell cultures (HAE) and in vivo and evolve in HAE into viable viruses with less fusogenic HN-F. In this report, we identify specific structural features of the HN dimer interface that modulate HN-F interaction and fusion triggering and directly impact infection. Crystal structures of HN, which promotes viral growth in vivo, show a diminished interface in the HN dimer compared to the reference strain’s HN, consistent with biochemical and biological data indicating decreased dimerization and decreased interaction with F protein. The crystallographic data suggest a structural explanation for the HN’s altered ability to activate F and reveal properties that are critical for infection in vivo.
IMPORTANCE Human parainfluenza viruses cause the majority of childhood cases of croup, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia worldwide. Enveloped viruses must fuse their membranes with the target cell membranes in order to initiate infection. Parainfluenza fusion proceeds via a multistep reaction orchestrated by the two glycoproteins that make up its fusion machine. In vivo, viruses adapt for survival by evolving to acquire a set of fusion machinery features that provide key clues about requirements for infection in human beings. Infection of the lung by parainfluenzavirus is determined by specific interactions between the receptor binding molecule (hemagglutinin-neuraminidase [HN]) and the fusion protein (F). Here we identify specific structural features of the HN dimer interface that modulate HN-F interaction and fusion and directly impact infection. The crystallographic and biochemical data point to a structural explanation for the HN’s altered ability to activate F for fusion and reveal properties that are critical for infection by this important lung virus in vivo.
Human parainfluenza viruses cause the majority of childhood cases of croup, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia worldwide. Enveloped viruses must fuse their membranes with the target cell membranes in order to initiate infection. Parainfluenza fusion proceeds via a multistep reaction orchestrated by the two glycoproteins that make up its fusion machine. In vivo, viruses adapt for survival by evolving to acquire a set of fusion machinery features that provide key clues about requirements for infection in human beings. Infection of the lung by parainfluenzavirus is determined by specific interactions between the receptor binding molecule (hemagglutinin-neuraminidase [HN]) and the fusion protein (F). Here we identify specific structural features of the HN dimer interface that modulate HN-F interaction and fusion and directly impact infection. The crystallographic and biochemical data point to a structural explanation for the HN’s altered ability to activate F for fusion and reveal properties that are critical for infection by this important lung virus in vivo.
Despite numerous attempts over many years to develop an HIV vaccine based on classical strategies, none has convincingly succeeded to date. A number of approaches are being pursued in the field, including building upon possible efficacy indicated by the recent RV144 clinical trial, which combined two HIV vaccines. Here, we argue for an approach based, in part, on understanding the HIV envelope spike and its interaction with broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) at the molecular level and using this understanding to design immunogens as possible vaccines. BnAbs can protect against virus challenge in animal models and many such antibodies have been isolated recently. We further propose that studies focused on how best to provide T cell help to B cells that produce bnAbs are crucial for optimal immunization strategies. The synthesis of rational immunogen design and immunization strategies, together with iterative improvements, offers great promise for advancing toward an HIV vaccine.
Alcohol consumption in man, when seen in its extreme form of alcoholism, is a complex and socially disruptive disorder that can result in significant levels of liver injury. Here the rodent “intragastric feeding model” was used together with UHPLC-TOFMS analysis to determine changes in global metabolite profiles for plasma and urine from alcohol treated rats and mice compared to control animals. Multivariate statistical analysis (using principal components analysis, PCA) revealed robust differences between profiles from control and alcohol-treated animals from both species. A large number of metabolites were seen to differ between control and alcohol-treated animals, for both biofluids.
Alcohol; Metabolite profiling; Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC); Time of Flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS); metabonomics; metabolomics
Aquatic birds harbor diverse influenza A viruses and are a major viral reservoir in nature. The recent discovery of influenza viruses of a new H17N10 subtype in Central American fruit bats suggests that other New World species may similarly carry divergent influenza viruses. Using consensus degenerate RT-PCR, we identified a novel influenza A virus, designated as H18N11, in a flat-faced fruit bat (Artibeus planirostris) from Peru. Serologic studies with the recombinant H18 protein indicated that several Peruvian bat species were infected by this virus. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that, in some gene segments, New World bats harbor more influenza virus genetic diversity than all other mammalian and avian species combined, indicative of a long-standing host-virus association. Structural and functional analyses of the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase indicate that sialic acid is not a ligand for virus attachment nor a substrate for release, suggesting a unique mode of influenza A virus attachment and activation of membrane fusion for entry into host cells. Taken together, these findings indicate that bats constitute a potentially important and likely ancient reservoir for a diverse pool of influenza viruses.
Previous studies indicated that a novel influenza A virus (H17N10) was circulating in fruit bats from Guatemala (Central America). Herein, we investigated whether similar viruses are present in bat species from South America. Analysis of rectal swabs from bats sampled in the Amazon rainforest region of Peru identified another new influenza A virus from bats that is phylogenetically distinct from the one identified in Guatemala. The genes that encode the surface proteins of the new virus from the flat-faced fruit bat were designated as new subtype H18N11. Serologic testing of blood samples from several species of Peruvian bats indicated a high prevalence of antibodies to the surface proteins. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that bat populations from Central and South America maintain as much influenza virus genetic diversity in some gene segments as all other mammalian and avian species combined. The crystal structures of the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins indicate that sialic acid is not a receptor for virus attachment nor a substrate for release, suggesting a novel mechanism of influenza A virus attachment and activation of membrane fusion for entry into host cells. In summary, our findings indicate that bats constitute a potentially important reservoir for influenza viruses.
Immune recognition of protein antigens relies upon the combined interaction of multiple antibody loops, which provides a fairly large footprint and constrains the size and shape of protein surfaces that can be targeted. Single protein loops can mediate extremely high affinity binding, but it is unclear whether such a mechanism is available to antibodies. Here we report the isolation and characterization of antibody C05 that neutralizes strains from multiple subtypes of influenza A viruses, including H1, H2, and H3. Crystal and EM structures show that C5 recognizes conserved elements of the receptor binding site on the hemagglutinin (HA) surface glycoprotein. Recognition of the HA receptor binding site is dominated by a single HCDR3 loop, with minor contacts from HCDR1, and is sufficient to achieve nanomolar binding with a minimal footprint. Thus, binding predominantly with a single loop can allow antibodies to target small, conserved, functional sites on otherwise hypervariable antigens.
A desirable but as yet unachieved property of a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine candidate is the ability to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). One approach to the problem is to create trimeric mimics of the native envelope glycoprotein (Env) spike that expose as many bNAb epitopes as possible, while occluding those for non-neutralizing antibodies (non-NAbs). Here, we describe the design and properties of soluble, cleaved SOSIP.664 gp140 trimers based on the subtype A transmitted/founder strain, BG505. These trimers are highly stable, more so even than the corresponding gp120 monomer, as judged by differential scanning calorimetry. They are also homogenous and closely resemble native virus spikes when visualized by negative stain electron microscopy (EM). We used several techniques, including ELISA and surface plasmon resonance (SPR), to determine the relationship between the ability of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to bind the soluble trimers and neutralize the corresponding virus. In general, the concordance was excellent, in that virtually all bNAbs against multiple neutralizing epitopes on HIV-1 Env were highly reactive with the BG505 SOSIP.664 gp140 trimers, including quaternary epitopes (CH01, PG9, PG16 and PGT145). Conversely, non-NAbs to the CD4-binding site, CD4-induced epitopes or gp41ECTO did not react with the trimers, even when their epitopes were present on simpler forms of Env (e.g. gp120 monomers or dissociated gp41 subunits). Three non-neutralizing MAbs to V3 epitopes did, however, react strongly with the trimers but only by ELISA, and not at all by SPR and to only a limited extent by EM. These new soluble trimers are useful for structural studies and are being assessed for their performance as immunogens.
A protective HIV-1 vaccine is badly needed, but no candidate has yet provided an adequate level of protection against infection. Most existing vaccines provide immune protection by inducing neutralizing antibodies, also a goal of many HIV-1 immunogen design projects. The trimeric envelope protein complex on the HIV-1 surface is the only relevant target for neutralizing antibodies, and is the basis for most strategies aimed at their induction. However, making a soluble, recombinant envelope protein complex that adequately mimics the structure present on the virus has been challenging. Here, we describe a newly designed and engineered Env protein that has the appropriate properties. This protein, termed BG505 SOSIP.664 gp140, binds most of the known neutralizing antibodies but generally does not bind antibodies that lack neutralization activity. Its appearance in negative stain electron micrographs also resembles native envelope complexes.
Identification of broadly neutralizing antibodies against influenza A viruses has raised hopes for the development of monoclonal antibody-based immunotherapy and ‘universal’ vaccines for influenza. However, a significant part of the annual flu burden is caused by two cocirculating, antigenically distinct lineages of influenza B viruses. Here we report human monoclonal antibodies, CR8033, CR8071 and CR9114, which protect mice against lethal challenge from both lineages. Antibodies CR8033 and CR8071 recognize distinct conserved epitopes in the head region of the influenza B hemagglutinin (HA), whereas CR9114 binds a conserved epitope in the HA stem and protects against lethal challenge with influenza A and B viruses. These antibodies may inform on development of monoclonal antibody-based treatments and a universal flu vaccine for all influenza A and B viruses.
Influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) mediates receptor binding and viral entry during influenza infection. The development of receptor analogs as viral entry blockers has not been successful, suggesting that sialic acid may not be an ideal scaffold to obtain broad and potent HA inhibitors. Here we report crystal structures of Fab fragments from three human antibodies that neutralize the 1957 pandemic H2N2 influenza virus in complex with H2 HA. All three antibodies use an aromatic residue to plug a conserved cavity in the HA receptor-binding site. Each antibody interacts with the absolutely conserved HA1 Trp153 at the cavity base through π-π stacking with the signature Phe54 of two VH1-69 antibodies or a tyrosine from HCDR3 in the other antibody. This remarkably conserved interaction can be used as a starting point to design inhibitors targeting this conserved hydrophobic pocket in influenza viruses.
γδ T cells respond rapidly to keratinocyte damage in the skin, providing essential contributions to the wound healing process, but the molecular interactions regulating their response are unknown. Here we identify a role for the interaction of plexin B2 and the CD100 receptor in epithelial repair. In vitro blocking of plexin B2 or CD100 inhibited γδ T cell activation. Furthermore, CD100 deficiency in vivo resulted in delayed repair of cutaneous wounds due to a disrupted γδ T cell response to keratinocyte damage. Direct ligation of CD100 in γδ T cells induced cellular rounding via signals through ERK kinase and cofilin. Defects in this rounding process were evident in the absence of CD100-mediated signals, thereby providing a mechanistic explanation for the defective wound healing in CD100-deficient animals. The discovery of immune functions for plexin B2 and CD100 provides insight into the complex cell-cell interactions between epithelial resident γδ T cells and the neighboring cells they support.
Certain human pathogens avoid elimination by our immune system by rapidly mutating the surface antigen protein sites targeted by antibody responses and consequently they tend to be refractory to vaccine development. The behavior described is prominent for a subset of viruses-the highly antigenically diverse viruses-which include HIV, influenza and hepatitis C viruses. However, these viruses do harbor highly conserved exposed sites, usually associated with function, which can be targeted by broadly neutralizing antibodies. Until recently, not many such antibodies were known but advances in the field have enabled increasing numbers to be identified. Molecular characterization of the antibodies and, most importantly, of the sites of vulnerability that they recognize, gives hope for the discovery of new vaccines and drugs.
TM0077 from Thermotoga maritima is a member of the carbohydrate esterase family 7 and is active on a variety of acetylated compounds, including cephalosporin C. TM0077 esterase activity is confined to short-chain acyl esters (C2-C3), and is optimal around 100°C and pH 7.5. The positional specificity of TM0077 was investigated using 4-nitrophenyl-β-D-xylopyranoside monoacetates as substrates in a β-xylosidase-coupled assay. TM0077 hydrolyzes acetate at positions 2, 3 and 4 with equal efficiency. No activity was detected on xylan or acetylated xylan, which implies that TM0077 is an acetyl esterase and not an acetyl xylan esterase as currently annotated. Selenomethionine-substituted and native structures of TM0077 were determined at 2.1 Å and 2.5 Å resolution, respectively, revealing a classic α/β-hydrolase fold. TM0077 assembles into a doughnut-shaped hexamer with small tunnels on either side leading to an inner cavity, which contains the six catalytic centers. Structures of TM0077 with covalently bound phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF) and paraoxon were determined to 2.4 Å and 2.1 Å, respectively, and confirmed that both inhibitors bind covalently to the catalytic serine (Ser188). Upon binding of inhibitor, the catalytic serine adopts an altered conformation, as observed in other esterase and lipases, and supports a previously proposed catalytic mechanism in which this Ser hydroxyl rotation prevents reversal of the reaction and allows access of a water molecule for completion of the reaction.
Acetyl esterase; Thermotoga maritima; crystal structure; α/β hydrolase; inhibitor; serine rotation
We have determined the crystal structure of the broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) AP33, bound to a peptide corresponding to hepatitis C virus (HCV) E2 envelope glycoprotein antigenic site 412 to 423. Comparison with bnAb HCV1 bound to the same epitope reveals a different angle of approach to the antigen by bnAb AP33 and slight variation in its β-hairpin conformation of the epitope. These structures establish two different modes of binding to E2 that antibodies adopt to neutralize diverse HCV.
Influenza virus neuraminidase (NA) cleaves off sialic acid from cellular receptors of hemagglutinin (HA) to enable progeny escape from infected cells. However, NA variants (D151G) of recent human H3N2 viruses have also been reported to bind receptors on red blood cells, but the nature of these receptors and the effect of the mutation on NA activity were not established. Here, we compare the functional and structural properties of a human H3N2 NA from A/Tanzania/205/2010 and its D151G mutant, which supports HA-independent receptor binding. While the wild-type NA efficiently cleaves sialic acid from both α2-6- and α2-3-linked glycans, the mutant exhibits much reduced enzymatic activity toward both types of sialosides. Conversely, while wild-type NA shows no detectable binding to sialosides, the D151G NA exhibits avid binding with broad specificity toward α2-3 sialosides. D151G NA binds the 3′ sialyllactosamine (3′-SLN) and 6′-SLN sialosides with equilibrium dissociation constant (KD) values of 30.0 μM and 645 μM, respectively, which correspond to much higher affinities than the corresponding affinities (low mM) of HA to these glycans. Crystal structures of wild-type and mutant NAs reveal the structural basis for glycan binding in the active site by exclusively impairing the glycosidic bond hydrolysis step. The general significance of D151 among influenza virus NAs was further explored by introducing the D151G mutation into three N1 NAs and one N2 NA, which all exhibited reduced enzymatic activity and preferential binding to α2-3 sialosides. Since the enzymatic and binding activities of NAs are not routinely assessed, the potential for NA receptor binding to contribute to influenza virus biology may be underappreciated.